Shopping for Christmas Gifts Without Breaking Your Budget

 

Shopping for Christmas gifts does not have to break your budget this year.

One of the greatest gifts of Christmas is giving to those you love. Everyone would like to buy the most expensive gifts for their family and friends, but it can be too expensive for the average person. There are alternatives for gift giving during the holidays, without breaking your budget. A good gift does not always have to be about the number on the price tag. There is a good chance that your friend will enjoy a gift with more sentimental value than an expensive gift. Gift giving does not always have to be stressful. There are many methods and strategies that you can follow this holiday season. If you follow these next steps and ideas, you could end up saving money and possibly have fun while doing it.

There are some simple methods that can be helpful to shoppers before they even hit the stores. Budgeting, shopping early and combining your shopping can be beneficial. Before you shop, budget your money and set a plan for your purchases so that you know exactly what you will be spending. Go Christmas shopping before everyone else. Get your shopping done early so that you can sit back and relax during December. Instead of shopping at multiple places, make all your purchases in one place so that you can save the money toward store taxes and car gas.

“If I am on a budget when I am Christmas shopping, I like to make as many gifts as I can because I feel like it is more meaningful when you put your time into the gift,” UMPI freshman Emily Blauvet said. “I love shopping for my friends and family. That is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. I love watching my loved ones open gifts that I get them. I think Christmas is being with your family and friends and celebrating being together because people often overlook what and who they have in their life.”

Electronics and clothes can be great gifts, but inexpensive items can also show someone how much you care. Handwritten notes or customizable items can be great gifts. Shopping at discount stores such as Marden’s or the Dollar Tree can help. Saving money could also mean buying more gifts for the people who otherwise would not make the list.

The Dollar Tree is a perfect place to get smaller items that can be brought together. The store sells candy, decorations, winter gloves, mugs and more. It also sells Christmas cards and crafts that can be signed or customized to create a sentimental feel. A gift is a gift, it does not matter the size. By giving gifts to people, you are telling them how much you care, despite the size of the gift.

Christmas is about the time you share with family and friends. Exchanging gifts is just another small aspect of the day. Shopping for gifts and receiving them is fun, although there is much more to the day than what is under the tree.

“I love shopping for my friends and family for Christmas. I’m not a big fan of shopping, but I like to think of the smile my friends and family will have when they open their gifts,” UMPI freshman Halle Garner said. “Christmas is all about being with your family. It doesn’t matter what you eat or what presents you get, as long as the holidays are spent with loved ones–period.”

The holiday season is about spending time with the ones you love. Gift-giving is just another aspect to Christmas that everyone cherishes. While shopping for gifts can be exciting, it is important to remember the people whom you spend Christmas with. After all, giving is a much better feeling than receiving.

Presque Isle Loop Brings Much-Needed Transportation to the City

 

Don Sawyer assists Dr. J off the Presque Isle Loop.

The city of Presque Isle has a new form of transportation available to its residents. The Presque Isle Loop, an innovative metro-style bus, is now traveling through the city, making it the first fixed bus route in Presque Isle. The Loop has 16 stops through town and is affordable for anyone looking for a ride. The bus, which started on Oct. 15, was formed by the Going Places Network in collaboration between multiple agencies and organizations throughout Aroostook County.

The bus is operated by the Aroostook Regional Transportation System and it seats up to 36 passengers. The bus is also accessible to all who may have a disability. The bus features free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and spacious seats.

The bus will give access to a variety of Presque Isle residents who may need transportation. From college students to the elderly, the bus will give new opportunities to people who did not have it before. Many students at UMPI or NMCC do not have cars or a means of transportation. The Presque Loop is a new resource for them. Older citizens of the city who can not drive on their own will now be able to travel. People who work around town will now be able to use the bus. If people without a car would like to make a trip to Walmart, they can now do that through the bus.

Don Sawyer, a bus driver for the Loop, spoke about its recent success. “On a good day, we get about 25 people,” Sawyer said. “I used to drive buses for the schools. This is a lot better than having 50 screaming kids behind you,” Sawyer laughed. The most popular stop for the Loop is Walmart. He also mentioned that a stop at Walmart gives people more than an hour to shop before the bus comes back, which is plenty of time to get what you need.

The first two weeks of the Presque Isle Loop in October were free to all riders. Since then, ticket prices are $1.75 for one way and $3.50 for a roundtrip. Children under the age of 5 ride the bus for free with a parent or guardian. Discounted fares are available to people ages 18 years and under or 60 years and older. Military Veterans and their spouses with ID will be offered a discount as well as people with mobility disabilities. Passengers will also have the option to purchase a GoPass with unlimited rides. This pass can either consist of a week for $18 or a month for $72.

The start of the Presque Isle Loop begins at UMPI by the Campus Center circle, then heading to the Plaza on Main Street near Big Cheese Pizza. The next stops are at Academy Street, the Presque Isle Nursing Home and Griffin Street. The bus makes several more stops through town including the Aroostook Centre Mall, Walmart, the Micmac Health Center, NMCC and more. On average, the bus stops at each location every 70 minutes.

UMPI professor Jacqui Lowman, a wheelchair user, had no trouble getting on the bus. “I thought it was amazing. I was so impressed. I thought the bus would be nice, but I had no idea that is would be that nice. It was very warm, and it had a great view out the window,” Lowman said. “There are many people who need to go to appointments or need to get to work and they do not have a vehicle. We’ve needed this for a long time. It is very affordable, and I think it is just going to keep building.”

The Presque Isle Loop has been a success since its opening in October and it is bound to continue its growth. This bus allows the city of Presque Isle to become more innovative and helpful to its citizens. It gives its community members a means of transportation in a city that has never had it before. The bus is another example of the steps Presque Isle is taking to improve the lives of its citizens. When people ride the Loop, they are not only helping themselves, but also their city. The Loop gives citizens a safe and convenient ride across town or wherever they may need to go in the future.

 

 

Good Times at the Snowy Owl Marketplace

 

People shop in Gentile Hall during the Snowy Owl Marketplace.

On Sept. 28, the University of Maine at Presque Isle hosted the Snowy Owl Marketplace as part of its Homecoming Weekend. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Gentile Hall was filled with a variety of vendors and tables. Students and community members packed the gym in order to see what they could get their hands on during that Saturday.

Many university clubs and sport teams participated in the event, hoping to raise money for their program or organizations. The International Students club sold potatoes and noodles. The Bio-Med Club sold cookies. The History Club sold a variety of coffees. The Criminal Justice Club had lots of success by selling Krispy Kreme Donuts. University Times sold fruit cups, drinks and macaroni and cheese. The baseball team ran a concession stand, selling popcorn, candy, hotdogs, drinks and more. The softball team sold baked goods and coffee.

A diverse assortment of vendors from outside of campus also attended. Many arts and crafts tables were out on display. Another booth had soaps, lotions and bath bombs for sale. Many vendors had autumn and Halloween decorations. Jewelry, blankets and even flavored marshmallows were also sold during the marketplace.

Danielle Pelkey and Laurie Boucher, both employees in the UMPI student financial services office, ran a vendor booth at the marketplace. The pair sold customized crafts and gifts. “I think the Snowy Owl Marketplace went really well. There was a lot of participation from local crafters, artisans, vendors and student organizations/clubs. There’s already brainstorming taking place for next year to make it even better. It was nice having it located at Gentile Hall where the weather didn’t affect the set up and more individuals were able to take part in,” Danielle Pelkey said. “We will definitely be participating again in the future. It was a great way to showcase our homemade and customized items for upcoming holidays.”

The year’s Snowy Owl Marketplace was different from the others held in the previous years. In past years, the marketplace was called the block party. The term Snowy Owl Marketplace is now its new and improved name. The past events were also always held outside at the tennis courts. Due to the weather, Homecoming organizers decided to change the location. A Car Show was held outside of Gentile, which brought in some visitors to the event. UMPI’s men’s and women’s soccer teams also competed in games during the time of the marketplace, bringing in more people.

“I had a great time. I really enjoyed coming out with friends and looking at arts and crafts, jewelry, artwork and homemade baked goods vendors had to offer. It also was very affordable, which gave me a lot to choose from. Even with being indoors, it didn’t take away from the whole marketplace feel. Going to the Snowy Owl Marketplace is something I definitely would do again,” UMPI sophomore Savannah Borland said.

This year’s Snowy Owl Marketplace brought hundreds of UMPI students, staff and community members together for a special day that will be looked forward to during next year’s Homecoming weekend.

Educational Technology: University Day Presentation

Stacy Landry, Tamielee Sutherland, and Emma Lajoie smile after their presenation.

Education students Stacy Landy, Emma Lajoie and Tamielee Sutherland presented their work on Educational Technology to Enrich Teaching and Learning during UMPI’s 18th annual University Day. Throughout the presentation, the women discussed the importance of technology in the classroom and how it affects the students, teachers and parents. Continue reading “Educational Technology: University Day Presentation”

Usain Bolt Coming to UMPI

Olympian Usain Bolt is coming to UMPI.

     The fastest man on earth is coming to the University of Maine of Presque Isle on Saturday, April 6, for sports clinic. The Jamaican sprinter will travel to northern Maine to greet community members and students during a sports clinic, which he will be running, no pun intended. The clinic will consist of speed and agility drills run by Bolt in Gentile Hall at 11 a.m. The event is free and open to everyone of all ages. Continue reading “Usain Bolt Coming to UMPI”

A Night Full of Laughs and Entertainment During the Variety Show

The University of Maine at Presque Isle hosted its first ever Variety Show on Thursday, Feb. 28, at 6 p.m.  It was filled with several acts from students, faculty and staff. The show was hosted by Los Angeles-based comedian, actor and voice actor, Justin Rupple. Community members, faculty, staff and students filled Wieden Auditorium for a fun and entertaining night at UMPI. Continue reading “A Night Full of Laughs and Entertainment During the Variety Show”

NSLS Hosts Livestream with Dr. Drew

Dr. Drew_s presentation on Feb. 19.

The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s National Society of Leadership and Success hosted a livestream event on Tuesday, Feb. 19, featuring Dr. Drew Pinksy. People viewed the lecture, titled Leadership Lessons with Dr. Drew, across the country on college campuses, including UMPI’s Wieden Auditorium. Continue reading “NSLS Hosts Livestream with Dr. Drew”

8th Annual Think Pink Games Draw a Big Crowd

The Wieden Gymnasium, packed for the Think Pink games.

The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s 8th Annual Think Pink basketball games drew a huge crowd on Tuesday, Feb. 12 in the Wieden Gymnasium. Students, staff, faculty, community members and more attended the men’s and women’s basketball games held against UMPI rival, the University of Maine at Fort Kent. Spectators and players wore shades of pink to represent patients and survivors who were or still are battling cancer. The money raised during Think Pink games is donated to the American Cancer Society Continue reading “8th Annual Think Pink Games Draw a Big Crowd”

Inked: Students Share Their Tattoo Stories

 

College students use their clothes or style to express themselves, although many University of Maine at Presque Isle students are using a different form of art to show off their personalities with tattoos. Tattoos are not just permanent ink on someone’s skin. Tattoos can focus on student spirituality or symbolize something in their life. Tattoos can also represent a meaningful moment or story from student lives. Several UMPI students shared stories behind their tattoos and what they mean to them. Continue reading “Inked: Students Share Their Tattoo Stories”

Celebrating Christmas in Mexico

A Christmas tree stands tall in Mexico City.

When December comes around, Mexicans all around the world begin to celebrate Christmas in a very special way. With delicious food, beautiful poinsettias and bright lights, people embrace their Mexican heritage through traditions celebrated with their family and friends. People gather to cook delicious food, decorate their houses, sing Christmas carols and spend quality time with their loved ones for this special time of the year. Mexican culture is rarely seen in northern Maine, but when it is seen, it is proudly represented. At UMPI, there are many Mexican students and it is important that they are all represented. Continue reading “Celebrating Christmas in Mexico”